Looking after YOU!
Ways you can help yourself. How to get support. Plus podcasts & films for personal reflection.
How can I deal with pressure?
Even though there are likely to be some things happening in your life that you can't control, there are still lots of practical things you can do to manage the amount of pressure you're under day to day. For example:
- keep yourself in good physical and social health - 5 ways to well-being
- identify your stress triggers
- organise your time
- address some of the causes
5 ways to well-being
Working out your personal stress triggers can help you anticipate problems and think of possible solutions. Even if you can't avoid the situations you identify, being ready can help.
Take some time to reflect on events and feelings that could be contributing to your stress (you might want to do this with a friend, relative or your Prospect rep). You could consider:
- concerns that come up regularly and worry you, for example paying a bill or performance management meetings
- infrequent events that are on your mind, like moving house or reapplying for your job
- ongoing stressful events like problems at work or being a carer
You might be surprised at how much you're actually coping!
If you can adjust the way you organise your time you may feel more in control and better able to handle pressure.
- Identify your best time of day and do the tasks then that demand most energy and concentration. Sleep quiz: are you a lark or an owl?
- Make a to-do list and prioritise. Discuss with your line manager if you can delay some tasks until you're feeling less stressed.
- Vary your activities. Balance the interesting with the mundane, and stressful tasks with those you find easier or can do more calmly.
- Try not to do too much at once. If you take on too much, you might find it harder to do any individual task well. This can make you feel like you have even more pressure on you.
- Take your breaks and have some fresh air. It might be difficult to do this when you're pressurised but it can make you more productive.
Although there may be lots of things in your life you can't change, there might be some practical improvements within your grasp. You might find it helpful to think about:
Accept the things you can't change
Changing a difficult situation isn't always possible. You may have to recognise and accept things as they are and focus on everything within your control. But you can help yourself regain control with this Keeping Well Workbook
This guidance is provided by the mental health charity MIND which offers considerable information including an A-Z of mental health.
Worried about mental health?
Remember that you are not alone. One in four people experience a mental health problem. Useful links include:
- Work and Mental Health - the Royal College of Psychiatrists who are committed to improving the lives of people with stress and mental ill health.
- Prospect disability webpage
- GOV.UK - rights at work if disabled by mental ill health
- Minding Your Head - info for those worried about poor mental health
- MindWise - support & challenges stigma
- Work Life Balance Centre - helps those whose lives feel out of control, has interactive aids
- Relate - marriage guidance & relationship therapy
- Cruse bereavement care
- Compassionate friends - Supporting bereaved parents after a child dies
- Parents advice centre
Remember: there's no shame in asking for help. The only shame is missing out on life!
I'm not sure if I'm stressed
Use the Health and Safety Executives interactive body-map to check for stress signs and symptoms. HSE also has guidance on dealing with personal stress. Or have a listen to our advisory Podcasts (see below).
How can Prospect help?
Contact your Prospect rep. If they can't help, they may know someone who can. Perhaps another type of representative or your full-time officer.
They may also point you to an Employee Assistance Service, which most employers nowadays provide. Your Branch should monitor its performance: active reps who have good working relations with Occupational Health will have a feel for service uptake and satisfaction. They can reassure you that an EAS is strictly confidential, other than in extreme circumstances where a risk of harm to others or self is identified.
Careersmart is a practical careers portal for professionals set up by Prospect with guidance including:
- CV writing
- career progression
- self employment
I need urgent help!
If you or someone you know needs urgent help, remember you are not alone. If you'd find it easier to talk to a stranger, you can use the following confidential helplines:
- Samaritans 08457 90 90 90 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week including Christmas Day)
- CALM 0800 58 58 58 Men’s helpline & web chat available 5pm to midnight every day
- NHS Moodzone Interactive webpages
- Papyrus Prevention of Young Suicide 0800 068 41 41 (Mon – Fri 10am – 5pm / 7pm – 10pm. Weekends 2pm – 5pm)
If you are a Civil Servant, past or present, the Charity for Civil Servants For You By You offers financial and emotional support.
I want to think through my own needs
Prospect podcasts offer a personal perspective to help you cope. Listen now or download for later.
Some charming & popular YouTube films
Black dog = depression
Black dog is a metaphor for depression popularised by Winston Churchill who had bouts of depression for much of his life.
- I had a black dog, his name was depression - supported by the World Health Organisation, this 4 minute film has been viewed by over 6 million people!
- Living with a black dog - 6 minutes, this film is for people living with depression and their partners and colleagues
- What's so funny about mental illness - the 8.5 minute anti-stigma TED Talk with Ruby Wax